The daily business briefing: November 20, 2020

About 742,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, up 31,000 from the previous week as surging coronavirus cases prompted state and local officials to impose new restrictions on businesses to curb infections. Another 320,000 claims were filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig and self-employed workers. Weekly jobless claims had been trending down or remaining flat since early October, but have remained above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 for 35 weeks. Now that the virus is surging in colder weather, as long predicted, economists are concerned worse days are ahead. “This is the beginning of the darkest part,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “This could metastasize into a much more traditional recession.” [The Washington Post]

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